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Kentucky 2nd District State House Candidates Discuss Issues

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As the Kentucky House of Representatives election race heats up, second district incumbent Richard Heath (R) and challenger Jesse Wright (D) visited WKMS for a political forum.

A few of the topics discussed include:

Potential Statewide Smoking Ban

The last few Kentucky legislative sessions have included the possibility of a statewide smoking ban.

Heath says he’s against such a policy as he feels it violates personal property rights.

“We come from a tobacco producing region. I think it would be hypocritical of me to go to Frankfort and vote for a smoking ban when tobacco pays the bills,” Heath said.

Wright says while he values personal rights, he believes they’re outweighed by the health risks of smoking.

Kentucky Pension Fund

The commonwealth’s pension fund has struggled the last few years and stands as one of the worst-supported in the nation.

Wright says struggling investments and the government’s failure to pay pension contributions make recovery a tough job.

“There’s no easy answer to this problem (…) we’re going to have to make some tough decisions, decide what we can cut, what we have to cut, and try to find new funds that we can kick into the pension so that we can get it up to a level where it can be sustaining,” Wright said.

Heath says a bipartisan effort last year saw some progress but it could use some work.

Regional Poverty

Our regional poverty rate is pushing nearly 20 percent.

Heath says attracting businesses would create jobs and relieve Kentucky’s high unemployment rate. He also wants Kentucky to become a right-to-work state, meaning employers couldn’t force potential workers to join a union.

“Jobs, jobs, jobs. It’s a solution to a lot of our problems. Right now, we are getting outperformed by several states around us (…) We have to make Kentucky more business friendly in order to attract business and put people to work,” Heath said.

Wright advocates a minimum wage increase to bring more Kentuckians out of poverty.

“We have too many people that are working but unable to support themselves, and their alternatives are quickly becoming ‘Should I work or should I start drawing a check from the government?’” Wright said.

Heath says he’s against a minimum wage increase, believing the economic timing to be wrong (though he says he wouldn’t necessarily be opposed in the future).

Listen to the full debate here:

Chad Lampe, a Poplar Bluff, Missouri native, was raised on radio. He credits his father, a broadcast engineer, for his technical knowledge, and his mother for the gift of gab. At ten years old he broke all bonds of the FCC and built his own one watt pirate radio station. His childhood afternoons were spent playing music and interviewing classmates for all his friends to hear. At fourteen he began working for the local radio stations, until he graduated high school. He earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology at Murray State, and a Masters Degree in Mass Communication. In November, 2011, Chad was named Station Manager in 2016.
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